Singed by Opposition references, Pakistan bans leaders from calling Imran Khan a ‘selected Prime Minister’

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Published: June 26, 2019 12:03:44 PM

The word 'selected Prime Minister' was first used by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari during his first address to the National Assembly after parliamentary elections in 2018.

Pakistan opposition MPs have been banned from calling Imran Khan as a ‘selected Prime Minister’.

Opposition leaders in Pakistan have been banned by the government from using the term ‘selected Prime Minister’ for Imran Khan. The order to bar opposition MPs from calling Khan a ‘selected Prime Minister’ was issued by National Assembly’s deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri on Sunday. Qasim, a member of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), declared that it was an insult to call Khan a ‘selected’ Prime Minister as the word was contrary to the rules of procedure and conduct of business.

“This is a house of elected representatives! No one will use this expression from now on!” he said.

The order to ban the MPs from referrring to Khan as ‘selected Prime Minister’ was passed in response to a Point of Order raised by Energy Minister Umer Ayub Khan. He said that calling the Leader of the House ‘selected’ was a breach of rules and an insult to the entire House.

“Using the word ‘selected’ for a Prime Minister who was elected through a democratic process is an insult to the system,” Khan said.

The term was first used by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari during his first address to the National Assembly after parliamentary elections in 2018. Zardari, while congratulating Khan, referred to him as a ‘selected Prime Minister’. Since then, it became a common trend inside the National Assembly among opposition leaders to refer to Khan with the term and the trend continued outside the National Assembly as well. Opposition leaders during press conferences and television debates regularly referred to Khan as a ‘selected Prime Minister’ instead of an ‘elected Prime Minister’.

Khan is the chief of the ruling PTI. He was appointed as the Prime Minister of Pakistan following the parliamentary election last year. His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf won 157 seats, highest in the National Assembly by a party. The PTI claimed that elections were conducted in a democratic manner but the references by opposition leaders in the last one year indicate that Khan was the favoured candidate of the country’s military that has dominated the country’s politics since its formation in 1947.

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